By VANGELIS ARAGIANNIS, Apopsy, July 2006
There are quite a few musicians hailing from India who have made a remarkableÂ career in the US jazz scene during the last years. The most renowned among them are pianist Vijay Iyer,Â sax player Rudresh Mahanthappa and drummer Sunny Jain. A recent addition to this list is pianistÂ Ramona Borthwick, who already makes her presence perceptible with her recording debut â€œA New Leafâ€, just like theÂ new leaf that â€œunfurls like a phrase on a staffâ€ in her poem on the CD sleeve.
Ramona was born in Bombay,Â where she studied classical piano, discovered jazz while in her teens and settled in Boston afterÂ some years of residence in Canada. Compared to the three artists mentioned above she is more inclinedÂ to mainstream and less allusive to her birthplaceâ€™s tradition. The album is throughout dominated byÂ lyricism and Â Borthwickâ€™s sentimental yet controlled playing. When she backs the piano with her vocals,Â she tends to enrich the music with latin feeling. This becomes more profound on the two tracks featuringÂ Esperanza Spaldingâ€™s impressive scat vocals. Borthwickâ€™s quintet also features her husband Noel BorthwickÂ on guitar and the outstanding Phil Grenadier (Larry Grenadier, the bassist in Brad Mehldau Trio is his brother)Â on trumpet, mainly known by his superb work on Bruno Rabergâ€™s recent albums.